Toronto FC will face a tough test in FC Dallas when they play at BMO Field for the first time this season.
After eight games and for the first time since October 17 of last year, Toronto FC are finally coming home. A lot has happened since they last played in Toronto: Drake dropped Views, the Raptors won a playoff series for the first time in 15 years, and Rob Ford passed away. I guess what I’m trying to say is, we missed the team, and I’m sure they missed us.
After a long road trip in which Toronto FC exceeded lots of peoples’ expectations by collecting 11 points and sitting in third place, they will want to have a strong showing at home and not disappoint the fans. That’s what happened last season, when they started out with a road trip only to lose to Houston in the home opener. If Toronto want to avoid having the same thing happen this time around, they will need to beat a strong opponent in FC Dallas.
Dallas may have lost their last two games by a combined score of 7-0, but don’t let that fool you: they are a good team. They got off to such a hot start that, despite those last two results, they still sit in a three-way tie for best in the MLS. Those last two losses were the only losses they have suffered thus far.
Their loss to the Vancouver Whitecaps came mostly because David Ousted turned in the performance of his life – not that far off from what we saw with Jake Gleeson. The Whitecaps are a good team and have struggled in the early parts of the season so far due to injuries, but surely that win was a big confidence booster for their side.
As for their last loss to the New York Red Bulls, that was a case of the defending Supporters Shield winners rounding into form again after a very slow start to the season. Nobody really thought that a team as strong as them were going to stay in the bottom half of the table for that long, did they? That win was New York’s way of putting the league on notice and saying “we’re still here too, you know.”
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Their match against the Reds will be their last in a three game road trip, and given the way it’s gone for them so far, they’ll be highly motivated to turn it around and get a positive result at a hostile BMO Field. The players to watch for FC Dallas come on both sides of the wing, as Colombians Fabian Castillo and Michael Barrios have fueled the team’s early success so far. Barrios has led the team with four goals so far, while Castillo has chipped in two goals and assists on the year. It’s clear that, with the Copa America Centenario coming up, they’re both eyeing a spot on the roster, and they could pose problems for our fullbacks if they have their way.
Other big names to watch out for on FC Dallas include Maxi Urruti, whose been one of the best offseason acquisitions so far, and Mauro Diaz. He’s been limited this season due to injury but he’s one of the most talented players on the team, and it won’t be long before he gets going again.
All told, this weekend’s game will be a clash of titans between two of the best teams in the MLS, and one of the toughest tests of Toronto FC’s young season. As far as home openers go, there isn’t a better opponent for the Reds to try and showcase their talent by getting a win, but they will have to give their maximum effort to achieve such a result. Let us know in the comments below what you think Toronto must do to beat FC Dallas, and if you’re going to the game, be sure to make the atmosphere as intimidating as possible!